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MAME 101?

Discussion in 'MAME / Multi-game Discussion, Projects & Support' started by CJBob, Nov 6, 2015.

  1. CJBob

    CJBob Active Member

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    So I'm mostly a pinball guy, although I have a brief story about my Mom and I visiting Busch Gardens in Tampa when I was a kid. She spent several hours looking around the place and I spent the entire time in the arcade playing Space Invaders. At least 2 hours straight, no breaks. We both had a good time.

    My question is not about building one but buying one. Is there a thread or website that I can trust with the basics to look for? I have younger brother/sister in laws who grew up with video games and in general I can see how adding one arcade machine with many choices would be a big hit with visitors.

    Pros and Cons? Can you get one that doesn't weigh a lot?

    Thanks.
     
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    Last edited: Mar 8, 2016
  2. mwong168

    mwong168 Administrator
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    I think Drano or Warlock both each have Nintendo replica cabs for sale right now that have a 60-in-1 or 412-in-1 board installed. Here is the DK cab with a 60-in-1 Drano is thinking about selling.

    20151106062052.jpg
     
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  3. brad808

    brad808 Member

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    Mame machines are awesome. I've made quite a few of them. All mine have been conversions though, I've never scratch built cabinets. The bottom line is arcade machines are big heavy awkward bastards. If size/ weight is a big concern for you then you could do a few different things. None of which I would recommend but all of them are options.

    - replace the crt with an LCD monitor
    - do a pedastal style control panel and mount an LCD on the wall
    - just simply do a stand alone control panel

    The reason I wouldn't recommend any of them is that they aren't very authentic and don't have the wow factor of walking up to a regular old arcade machine with that CRT glow.

    I should also note that older machines are substantially lighter and smaller. I have a taito cab from the 80s that I can pick up and move around no problem by myself. Cabs from the 90s tend to be a lot bulkier. Directly related to that is the fact that most older cabs use smaller 19" monitors and newer cabs are usually 25"+ monitors.
     
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  4. CJBob

    CJBob Active Member

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    Good information, thanks, I'll do a bit more research based on this.

    I wouldn't be moving it around much, but the best spot for it is in front of the door to the cold cellar so it would be nice to be able to move it forward and back a few feet on occasion to access the spot.

    A cocktail table isn't quite the same but has some advantages for sure, are they any lighter?
     
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  5. Menace

    Menace Well-Known Member
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    Coctails take up a lot more space than an upright. They might be marginally lighter but not by much, and they are NOWHERE near as visually appealing if you ask me.

    You could put castors on the bottom of the vid to help move it around. Where your room is carpeted it would stay in place no problem.

    D
     
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  6. CJBob

    CJBob Active Member

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    Having played and seen a few of these now I understand the downside of the LCD display vs CRT but it's a compromise I'm willing to make for the reduce weight. As long as someone walks into the room and sees the cabinet and says 'Holly Shit' and then can play 100+ different games I'm good.

    So where do I look next?
     
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  7. Luckydogg420

    Luckydogg420 Member

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    One of my next projects will be to build several MAME cabinets specific to each game style. One cab for gun games. One for vertical shooters (1942). One for trackball games (probably will use 2 trackballs to play pound for pound boxing). One with a spinner. One for fighters (2 player 6 buttons). One for 4 player games (3 buttons). And maybe one of the nintendo cabinets for NES games

    I've had an all in one cabinet for many years but find that's not ideal for me. Friends will be over playing pinball and golden tee. But there's occationally people standing around wishing to play other arcades.

    I haven't decided if I want them to all look alike or different. I've built cabinets from scratch that have had lcd's so that they can take up less floor space but converting a small cabaret cabinet works well too. One thing to remember is that you don't want the cabinet to be to light, or it will move around as you play it. I put casters under my machine (big mistake if they don't lock) and have had it roll away playing street fighter doing a ha-do-Ken.

    Golden tee cabinets can be easily converted into good all in one MAME cabinets. There's enough room to mount joysticks and buttons on either side of the trackball. But those cabinets are huge and heavy.
     
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  8. Chris Bardon

    Chris Bardon Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like an interesting project-is there a good solution out there for gun games yet? I have an old act-labs gun that doesn't work very well, and I haven't heard great things about aimtrack either, although it's been years since I've dug into it.
     
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  9. Luckydogg420

    Luckydogg420 Member

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    One of the largest problems that I've came across with the aimtrack is that window automatically determines mouse numbers. So as soon as one usb mouse is unplugged then the guns need to be re-calibrated. My cabinet has 2 guns, a spinner, a trackball. That's 4 "mice" devices to get confused with.

    The calibration process is a pain in the ass too. The aimtrack uses a light bar to detect the guns ( like a nintendo wii) and finding a good location for mounting it can be tough. Not only do you want the cabinet to look nice but it also needs to be functional. Even after you get the guns tracking properly with MAME, then you need to make sure that each game is also calibrated properly.

    My guns worked perfectly for about 2 years then one of the guns dropped on the ground and needs to be replaced. While trouble shooting the one gun I unplugged it and plugged it back in, that threw off Windows, and it's detection of the guns. So player 2's gun was defaulted to player 1 and everything needed to be re-calibrated.

    The aimtrack software allows you to change the device number but it's not very user friendly at times.

    If you get the guns working properly then don't touch them or they will need to be set up again.
     
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  10. Menace

    Menace Well-Known Member
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    #10
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2016
  11. mwong168

    mwong168 Administrator
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    Can we get a list of games you must have because if you don't care for more modern games like say Gauntlet Legacy or shooters like Area 51 then you could be able to get by with a simple and cheaper solution such as running a Raspberry Pi 2/3 with Retropie.



    I just purchased a Raspberry Pi 3 last week from microsoft store online for $80 shipped with case and power supply. I already have a few of those retro USB controllers from before so might give this a try and see how well it works. I might end up selling this to a coworker here who was so stoked when I showed him my MAME/Hyperspin setup on my desktop computer here at work. Then when I showed him my Moga 2 controller connected to my smart phone via bluetooth and playing Nintendo, Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis he nearly crapped his pants. I loaded up his Nexus 5 with emulators and he is using the onscreen controls but plans on getting a controller similar to mine shown below.

    [​IMG]



    Anyways CJBOB, if you want to stop by anytime I can give you a brief introduction to MAME with my dual LCD 4 player Nintendo Red Tent setup. I've been playing with emulators since my university days back in 1997 and built many MAME and PinMAME projects in the past too for myself and friends.



    I can also go over the internals with you as well in regards to how to wire up joysticks and buttons.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    My Red Tent setup has over 240' of wiring because I went with full RGB controls for the joysticks and buttons. The joysticks and buttons can dynamically change color and turn on for each game you select. This way it takes a bit of the guess work out of which buttons and how many are active in each game too. I also have a USB spinner I can hook up as well as an Aimtrak I can show you as well.

    Your list of favorite games will also determine the type of joysticks you will want in your cabinet too. I personally use 8-way sticks because I mostly play fighters like Street Fighter II or Mortal Kombat. I have no problems playing Pacman or Donkey Kong but the "purists" will say this is blasphemy and say it needs to be played with a dedicated 4-way stick. This is why you see MAME cabs with these frankestein type panels that have a million different controls on them.

    I also don't believe in CRT and happily sold off the ones that came in my red tent for $90. In exchange I picked up four of these Dell 19" 4:3 LCD monitors off kijiji. The seller had them listed for $80 and I offered him $40 for two and I guess he wanted them gone and said for $50 I could have all 4 of them. So now I have two spares to keep as back ups in case one dies. Also without the two CRT monitors it gives me much better access to the inside of my machine and greatly reduces heat too!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
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  12. CJBob

    CJBob Active Member

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    Thanks Mike, Warlock was telling me last week about some of the amazing stuff you've done over the years.

    The first thing for me is this is a buy, not a build. I don't enjoy the work on these things, I'm not good at it and I don't have the tools. To give you a feel for it IKEA is the limit of my ability, I do own many allen keys now. :)

    The cabinet should have the basic look and feel of walking into an arcade in the 80's and must have games are from that era as well. PacMan, MsPacman, Frogger and Space Invaders are the ones I played the most and would continue to play. More choice is important for visitors, but there are no must have games beyond that.

    I'm starting to learn a bit and agree the joystick feel is critical. I played Space Invaders on a multi-game machine in Florida and the feel wasn't right, I assume it was the 4 way vs. 8 way joystick you described and this does make a difference.

    LCD is good to reduce weight and I would look at options like the one Menace pointed out to get the look as close to the original as possible, but it's not a huge deal. The whole idea is just to give those people who would rather play video games instead of pinball something to do for a while over a few beers.

    Oh, and to do it without dropping $3500 for 13 games. It looks nice, but my budget is about 1/3 of that.

    http://www.theplaydiumstore.com/Pacman_s_Arcade_Party_Home_Cabaret_p/arc-1485.htm
     
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    Last edited: Apr 5, 2016
  13. Menace

    Menace Well-Known Member
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    Never ever consider those pre-fab cabinets. WAY overpriced for what you get, especially when you can make something much better yourself (or have someone else do it for you)

    Beyond the control limitations, the only other issue you run into is horizontal vs vertical games. To do it right you should have two separate cabs. The thing with a MAME setup is there will always be some level of compromise, you just need to figure out what you're willing to live with. :)

    Mike will be able to give you lots of help with this.

    D
     
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  14. mwong168

    mwong168 Administrator
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    Please don't buy this and only a fool would be proud to have this in their game room because you can most definitely build something similar to it for 1/3!

    Here is another idea if you don't want to go with the LCD route and use an old tube tv. You can get one of these converter boxes so that you can output from any PC to RCA composite for $15usd shipped.

    4-5-2016 11-51-11 AM.png

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/TV-RCA-Comp...024666?hash=item3f57536c5a:g:QdcAAOSwFGNWSsjl

    I'm sure you or a friend might have an old tube TV kickin' around your house that is not being used otherwise people can't give these away quick enough on kijiji for FREE!

    Now depending on the donor arcade cabinet you choose to go with will depend on how big of a tube tv you can cram inside it. I don't know much about working on arcade monitors such as recapping or fixing collapses but I do know they scare the hell outta me because they can still hold a charge even after being unplugged for months. Of course there are plenty of youtube videos on how to discharge them but I've done a few builds for friends using a tube TV and the games look pretty authentic to me and much better then LCD. Here is a picture of a PC outputted to a 27" Panasonic Tau tube tv and you can see the text isn't very sharp but still legible.

    [​IMG]

    Now in regards to wiring up the arcade controls you just need a few basic tools such as a good wire stripper and crimper.

    [​IMG]

    The wires are crimped with these female quick disconnects and connected to each microswitch as shown here

    [​IMG]

    Otherwise you could solder the wires directly to the tabs on each microswitch but using these connectors makes it easier to service down the road in case the switch begins to fail. Also having these tools can also be helpful too because the Start, Buy In and other buttons on modern pinballs use a similar type of connector too.

    Now for 4-way/8-way joysticks you can go with one or the other otherwise there are solutions out there that can do both such as the Ultimarc UltraStik 360 or ServoStik.

    [​IMG]

    http://ultimarc.com/ultrastik_info.html
    [​IMG]
    http://ultimarc.com/servostik.html

    I've tried both and personally not a fan because when used in 8-way mode for Street Fighter II it feels terrible. Those who can't feel the difference or say it is plays just fine probably suck and got their asses handed to them in the arcades back in the day.

    If you really need both 4way and 8way then I would recommend designing the control panel portion of your cabinet so that it can be easily interchangeable by reaching in via coin door and undo a latch. My original Street Fighter II MAME cabinet from 2009 was in a generic Dynamo HS2 cabinet and got an extra generic panel which I had holes drilled out and artwork printed to match up to the Mortal Kombat button layout.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I wired up both panels with connectors shown above so they can be interchanged. Personally I can play Mortal Kombat with either layout and if I happen to have friends over and bitch out me ripping his head off with Sub Zero because of button layout then I would swap the control panel and still rip their head off :p

    Joysticks and buttons aren't overly expensive and small price to pay for "authenticity" and "feel".

    HAPP Competition 8-way Arcade Joystick $8.49usd

    [​IMG]

    http://groovygamegear.com/webstore/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=65&products_id=287

    Leaf-Pro 2/4/8 way joystick $17.95usd

    [​IMG]

    http://groovygamegear.com/webstore/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=65&products_id=365

    Actually there is another alternative from not having interchangeable control panels is you could also get a joystick by a japanese manufacturer like Sanwa.

    [​IMG]

    You will notice on the bottom there is a gate that limits or restricts the joystick throw to engage the microswitches. They are held in via 4 pressure clips and you can get multiple gates you can easily swap like a 2-way, 4-way and 8-way shown below.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Anyways CJBOB, I've got all these types of controls on hand and can gladly set them up for you to play your favorites and you can decide which route you want to go. If you aren't comfortable wiring I can help you out there so don't worry. In my opinion the hardest part of any custom MAME build is the software and how it interacts with the control panel. You don't want to rely on a keyboard or mouse that is tucked away to select games because it takes away from the cabinet experience.

    I should be getting my Raspberry Pi3 today and got everything I need to setup Retropie so will let you know how well it works out. Since you are mainly interested in are PacMan, MsPacman, Frogger and Space Invaders this might fit the bill.
     
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  15. FastEd

    FastEd Active Member

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    Haha Mike, I'll translate for you. "Can you build him a mame for $1200?".
     
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  16. mwong168

    mwong168 Administrator
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    Nice one Ed and given the technology that is available out there today it could very well be possible to build your own MAME for even less. I've read and heard nothing but great things about these Raspberry Pi's and what can be done with them. As a matter of fact my Creature from the Black Lagoon is powered by one because I have MikeD's LCD Hologram mod.

    So I received my Raspberry Pi3 yesterday and decided to start playing with it at midnight last night. In case anyone wants to give this a try themselves here are the links to what I purchased and looks like my good old friends at RFD (redflagdeals.com) cleaned out the Microsoft store because they had the Pi3 with 16gb microsd card (preloaded with NOOBs) for $62.99cdn shipped. With the Pi3 enclosure and power supply it cost me around $82cdn shipped thanks as well to ebates which had 10% cash back.

    You can get the Pi3 itself or even a full kit from other online Canadian retails like Amazon here:



    Raspberry Pi3 Enclosure
    http://www.microsoftstore.com/store/msca/en_CA/pdp/Raspberry-Pi-3-Enclosure/productID.335097600

    You can potentially save $4.00 by buying the Pi2 enclosure but note that the LED indicator lights have been relocated on the Pi3 board so there are no cutouts for them on the Pi2 enclosure.

    Stontronics 2.5A Micro-USB Power Supply - T5875DV
    http://www.microsoftstore.com/store...SB-Power-Supply---T5875DV/productID.335134300

    Spend extra $1.00 over the Pi2 power supply because this has an extra 0.5A which the Pi3 might require for stable or optimal operation if you decide to overclock it

    Anways, after about 15 mins I had managed to flash the microSD card and booted up RetroPie for the first time. Basically all you are doing on a PC is formatting a microsd card and using win32imager to write an image file to the card.

    You can get the latest RetroPie image here for whatever version of Pi you have currently:
    http://blog.petrockblock.com/retropie/retropie-downloads

    Win32Imager I would recommend getting from the home page on sourceforge:
    https://sourceforge.net/projects/win32diskimager

    If you are a more visual type of learner then there are tons of youtube videos on how to do this but it's as easy as pie :p

    [​IMG]

    I bought all these Retrolink Nintendo, SuperNES and Sega Saturn USB controllers probably 6-7 years ago. These were a god send back in the day when I use to travel a lot for work as they helped kill time playing emulators in my hotel room. So I hooked up the Nintendo controller, configured the inputs and was playing Castlevania within minutes.

    [​IMG]

    The only snag I hit last night was there was no sound over HDMI. I had to get into a shell window and edit a linux config file using the following command:

    sudo nano /boot/config.txt

    Locate the line that says hdmi_drive=2 and remove the hash tag which basically forces the operating system to push audio through HDMI. After I rebooted audio was working perfectly. It's probably way past most people's bedtime at 1am but I wasn't tired yet so decided to read up a bit more and was going through the RetroPie wiki. I setup Steven Selph's Scraper by following the steps listed here

    https://github.com/retropie/RetroPie-Setup/wiki/scraper

    Now instead of a boring file listing for each system, I now have a small thumbnail image, description and some brief specs for each game like manufacturer and year.

    [​IMG]

    When I get some more time later I will load some MAME roms like Pacman, Space Invaders, Frogger to see how well they play. I'm hoping it can handle other games like Street Fighter II, Mortal Kombat, Narc, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Puzzle Bobble and I might build my daughter her own little bartop arcade using a Pi3.
     
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  17. Steve

    Steve New Member

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    Hi, Is it possible to set up a Raspberry Pi with Mame to boot to a single rom. I would like to use something like this to replace a broken arcade pcb in a cab I have. All the hardware is out there but I don't know about the software end of this. If any of you mame guys could help(program the SD card). I would gladly pay for the service. Pls PM me if interested. Thanks.
     
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